China shuts door on Cheek

(How did you find out you'd not be going to Beijing?) I got a call from 5pm last night from the Chinese counsulate that my visa had been revoked. He said there's no recourse. (When did you apply for the visa?) In June, and I had it for about a month before it was revoked. (How rigorous was the interview process?) There was none, I filled out the paperwork and that was it. (What were you planning to do in Beijing?) I'm the founder of Team Darfur, an organization, and we have 380 athletes from 63 nations and we want to raise awareness of the crisis. We have 72 athletes who have signed on to support us who will be competing in Beijing, and I was going to support them in any way they need, and I've been invited to speak on a number of panels about conflict resolution. (It seems surprising you got a visa in the first place.) I agree, I was surprised. But I figured that once I was given, they knew who I was, what I was doing and that I'd be able to participate in the Olympics. I still believe the Olympics can be a huge forum for conflict resolution and dialogue, so I assumed I'd be able to participate in these other aspects of the Olympics. (Do you think the PR from this is actually more of a benefit than if you had gotten into China?) I think that's possible, but I'm certain this will be seen as suppressing other people from wanting to speak out, a form of coercion. (What do you say to people who feel sports and politics should be kept separate?) I understand why people feel that, but I also feel that politics fit well with the Olympic spirit.

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